With Hurricane Irene bearing down on the East Coast this weekend, its time to review the essential items that need to be a part of any personal or family emergency kit. These items are not specific to hurricane emergencies and can be used for any emergency situation.
Each kit should contain the basics mentioned below however, additional items should be considered because different weather events and personal circumstances can change what you may need to remain prepared.
Most preparedness campaigns mention nine items that are critical basics to any emergency kit:
1) Water: One gallon per person per day to cover a minimum of three days.
2) Food: Non perishable items like can goods and packaged foods.
3) Clothes: One change of clothes and footwear per person.
4) Flashlight: Many electronics stores sell crank versions which require no batteries.
5) Can opener: While it might seem inconvenient, we are talking about the non electric version.
6) Medications: A three day supply.
7) Radio: Many crank flashlights also have a built in radio. If you have a battery powered radio, make sure you carry a supply of extra batteries.
8) Hygiene items: Tooth brush, soap, toilet paper.
9) First aid kit: Aspirin, Tylenol, band aids, antiseptic.
Additional seasonal and situational items to consider may be items like pet food, blankets or a sleeping bag for winter emergencies, infant formula and diapers and important family documents.
Many rural residents fail to consider that one minor inconvenience can sometimes trigger a bigger problem. For rural residents who rely on well water, a simple power outage almost always cuts water supply due to no electricity available to supply the pump. It’s critical that home owners with well water heed the 3 day supply of water recommendation.
For homeowners, you have a supply of water that you probably never considered as potable and ready for drinking and it’s the 40+ gallons of water in your hot water heater. It’s not doing you any good in a tank and it’s completely drinkable. If you still have concerns over water, you can apply 16 drops of household bleach for every one gallon of water to disinfect it.
Remain aware of the hazards that can occur in and around your home and office. Do you live near railroad tracks? Do the trains carry any hazardous materials? Do you know where to find critical information?
The Pennsylvania readiness website lists 10 emergencies PA residents should remain aware of. Those are:
- Winter Storms
- Tropical Storms, Tornadoes and Wind Storms
- Influenza Pandemic
- Hazardous Material Incidents
- Earthquakes and Landslides
- Nuclear Threat
- Dam Failures
Many counties have a hazard mitigation plan which outlines the threats which could be expected by residents in that jurisdiction. Many jurisdictions have these plans available for the public to review, you just have to ask and you can start by calling your local emergency management office or local fire department.
Following last weeks Earthquake, cell phone lines quickly become overwhelmed. Do you have a set meeting place that you and your family can meet at if you can’t meet at home?
Remember, it’s not the government’s job to take care of you and your family. It’s your job to remain informed and prepared for any emergency.
If you are interested in more information, visit the Ready.Gov website. And for PA residents PA Ready .